Meeting consumer demand for eco-friendliness
In a tough economy, a tire dealer has to stand out. American Car Care Centers offers a meaningful way to do that. EcoExpress Tire Centers Inc. is coming to an area near you.
Introduced in 2010 as a pilot program and officially launched in October 2011, the eco-friendly program grew by 61 dealers in 2012.
“The business plan for 2013 is to add 155-plus locations,” says Jeremy Lewin, ACCC director of marketing and creator of EcoExpress. “We’ll talk to dealers and tell them how their goals can be aligned with ours.”
To address the goal of bringing in more customers, the nationwide affiliate dealer program helps its members stand out in their markets through brightly colored green-themed signage and point-of-sale materials. Territories are exclusive for participants to take full advantage the advertising and promotional support offered by the program.
The eco-friendly aspect of EcoExpress is bolstered by the GreenLink Shop + third-party recognition program. The Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair (CCAR) is partnered with EcoExpress to offer certification that shops meet all relevant U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines.
“We are also partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation (ADF), the provider and administrator of the ‘Trees 4 Tires’ program where one tree will be planted for every set of tires sold by the EcoExpress dealer,” explains Lewin. “We’ll be doing more with the ADF in conjunction with the EcoExpress dealers as we gain a wider footprint across the country.”
Lewin says that many participants are smaller multi-location dealers. EcoExpress is a good fit for them because they’re looking for a strong identity.
“We have the opportunity to get them in on the ground floor with eco-friendly business practices. Those practices deal primarily with waste oil, recycling tires and the protection of ground water.
“One of the biggest things a dealer can do for the greatest impact with the least effort is manage waste water,” says Lewin. “Even shop towels and rags; it’s really all about waste and recycling.”
Lead wheel weights also must be recycled, and Lewin is coming up with an program to offer incentives to dealers to make the switch away from lead.
“It’s a pretty sizeable impact for not a whole lot of effort. We’re suggesting any non-lead alternative.”
Lewin says dealer feedback for the program has been positive, with many commenting on the noticeable change to the appearance of their businesses.
“The showrooms lead to a dialogue. It gives them a platform to talk about eco practices.”
Lewin says consumer feedback for EcoExpress has been very positive because the eco-focus is a hot topic. The feedback he has received reveals consumers are very vocal of their support of any environmental measures in the automotive industry.
“They want to know why a product is eco-friendly and why a particular preventive maintenance step translates into reduced environmental impact,” says Lewin. “They’re interested in the stories. The green aspect is working very well for us.”
Eco-Express benefits are both ‘eco’nomical and ‘eco’logical
• Eco-Assistance tire warranty with nationwide road hazard/tire and mileage warranty for up to 12 months/12,000 miles available for any tire purchased at an Eco-Express location;
• Eco-Assurance nationwide service warranty with 12-month/12,000-mile coverage accepted at any Eco-Express location and 30,000 affiliated locations across the U.S.;
• Eco-Anywhere guarantees warranty service within 25 miles of the disabled vehicle or the customer receives $250;
• Eco-Advantage Preferred Customer account that provides interest-free credit for consumers and approval in minutes;
• Trees 4 Tires program that is exclusive to Eco-Express in conjunction with the Arbor Day Foundation and guarantees one tree is planted by Eco-Express for every set of tires sold;
• GreenLink Shop + environmental certification by CCAR that ensures Eco-Express locations are certified to be in total compliance with all relevant EPA environmental guidelines.